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Workflow software, what works for you?

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Pauly, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    We're not a huge shop, just a couple of us.
    We have been using Asana for a year now, although i don't love it, it has worked for us. I don't feel like it's really for print shop workflows. We went from the list layout to the board layout by moving the jobs to different columns depending on the stage it's at. worked well, although i was never happy with it.

    Im also aware of trello and the board layout, didn't like it either.

    I did some searching online, i realised they're mostly the same (unless im using wrong key words) and found "ClickUp" it caught my eye as it wasn't expensive, and it had a table layout. i had a play with a free account.
    Created some jobs and a progress layout with key points in our workflow.

    I used dropdown boxes to fill in the sections. and kept colours consistent.

    It also got me thinking, is there any other software that can do this? at the same time allow for notes and comments etc (like asana) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
    --------------------------
    Edit - I thought id add links here for people looking for similar applications.

    Clickup - very limited free version and cheap subscription.
    Ininity - $150 one time fee for 10ppl.
    Airtable - Seems to be free until you want more features.
     

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  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    If you like that style of software, check out infinity. You can view your data anyway your team desires: Table, KanBan, Gnatt, custom.

    Other than that, depending on where you are at in the life cycle of your business, it may be time to design your own software to suit you.
     
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  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    This right here.

    A lot of people, for whatever reason, think that it's harder to do this then it really is. It is not. Now, if not motivated to actually do it, then no, consciously or unconsciously it will seem to be excruciating, but if you really want software that does everything that you need it to do and have a UI that fits your liking, it will either need to be very "open" (not necessarily open source, but with an open API for users to make changes), which usually comes at a good bit of cost, or you'll need to roll your own.

    A lot of frameworks out there make it easier to do this.
     
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  4. Medina Signs

    Medina Signs Old Member

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    Hi Pauly,

    Check out Sign Tracker - I have been using it for about 10 years and have found it indispensable - it is a rent by month subscription - originally it came with quickbooks integration - I think it still does but we have not been using that feature. It's been a big help and it is inexpensive.

    Here is a link - https://www.sign-tracker.com/

    Good Luck
     
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  5. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    Infinity looks good, first time seeing it. I'm assuming that lifetime options is always available?
    as for designing my own software, i don't think i have the spare time for that at the movement with all the projects I have going on.

    If i had the time, i probably would create my own. I have not looked at it, i have seen people use filmmaker, and Im sure if I had access to it I would loose weeks creating something with it. But It'll be another learning curve for me. (just learnt basic PHP)

    Interesting, looks like most other workflow software. thanks!
     
  6. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I just checked this out. I love the quote page! Definitely going to try this out for my free month
     
  7. zspace

    zspace Merchant Member

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    We moved to Corebridge last year (https://corebridge.net/). It's worked very well for us.

    It's cloud based so most of our front office is able to work remote. As a workflow management tool it has been fantastic and allowed us to run completely paperless in production.

    We moved off of Cyrious. It's also great software (more powerful than Corebridge in my opinion), but self-hosting and supporting the server made it cumbersome and not worth the back-office functions we lost in the move.

    Good luck in your selection.

    Alan
     
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  8. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    It has been so far, price just creeps up. I like it with google sheets as they play well. If you want more automation check out suitedash.
     
  9. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I can totally understand that. Depending on which languages you use for your software, it can take a couple of weeks to have something viable to prototype or it can take a day or two. I've used C++ and QT (this took a few days for sure) and I have use HTML/CSS/JS and Electron (definitely quicker), both with their pros and cons, just depends on what you are wanting and what you can live with.

    As to "lifetime" options. I don't expect that to last. Writing is clearly on the wall and at best, one is going to have yearly options across the board sooner versus later. That is about as "lifetime" as it's going to get. I will say this, nothing motivates one to roll their own when lack of control gets to a certain point (that has really made me a zealot when it comes to this stuff).
     
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  10. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    I found Airtable just before while looking at youtube video reviews on infinity. so far it seems to be great. might put it to the test for a few weeks.

    I just like the table view. I dont know how much more i will really use. We just use it for job tracking and to follow up jobs that are still sitting there. Seems to have automations too. haven't tried yet.
     
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  11. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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  12. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Infinity can be setup just like airtable just so you know, I got infinity at $79/life with 5 workspaces and unlimited collaborators but even at the $149 current setup, it would be worth it for you so you can have different views for different people.
     
  13. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    That's how found airtable. Man you got it cheap!
    I purchased it. So far it's not bad. IMO Airtable has a ton more features, but i think this will do for now. it's like paying for a year subscription anyway

    I love the table format, it makes looking at jobs a lot easier. it's cheaper than a year subscription and allows me to grow.
     
  14. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Maybe revisit this linked post of the same topic from nearly a year ago…

    https://signs101.com/threads/ios-ipad-workflow-software.156286/#post-1454681

    … and compare the post’s attached layout image to the one you’ve posted earlier in this thread.

    I think you’ll find the two rather similar except the layout from last year has more data which you’re now looking for. If you’re interested, ask me how long I estimate it would take you to make the same solution in FileMaker. (I might say 30 minutes.)

    Question; With the solutions already mentioned, can you export all your data they hold when you wish to do so?
     
  15. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    With Infinity the answer is yes to CSV, xls, or Gsheet
     
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I would have to add, I wouldn't do any commercial solution that didn't allow for CSV exporting at the very least (I tend to like SQL db, but I doubt that would ever happen, but I digress) as that would allow for going to a different solution should the need arise.
     
  17. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    Im fully aware of your post actually. I was looking thought my old thread before posting this one.
    Although i'd love file maker, i dont have the time to build something for myself. i have to many projects to do.

    infinity can export into CSV.
    i think the others can too.
     
  18. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    Is that how long it would take a seasoned FM pro to make something like that or a beginner? I really want to play around with it but like Pauly I don't want to add another distraction to my ever-growing pile.

    Regarding workflow software, we're currently using Smartsheet but looking for ways to improve it or move on to something else. Works pretty good for our quote/job boards, but I feel like I need a better way to visualize projects as they move through the shop. Then again we're a smaller shop and I'm aware of every project that is on the go, but planning for growth we need to improve our systems.

    Definitely some good advice here so far!
     
  19. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    That's generally the reason behind the many types of workflow solutions. I tried a handful and set them up in under an hour. so easy that with in half a day you could get your team to switch over and run on the new platform. vs spending 2 weeks putting together my own solution. or more.

    Ideally i think I'd like to move to Airtable. but for our shop, it's not worth the price just yet. But the price for Infinity, it's a steal. It does the basics. its a little clunky in terms of how some stuff is set out, but once you know how it works, it's easy.
    IMO infinity (at it's current price of $150) it's perfect for a growing company. allows 10 users with full functionally especially if budget doesn't allow for you to spend $1000/yr just yet.

    Infinity does what i need for now. i have my table with my list of jobs. with dropdowns for the process stages (proofing, printing & finishing). very easy to sort them into groups to see all jobs that need to be printed or need proofs to be made ec.
    Automation would be a great touch, set up little things like it to tell mark static jobs. for example a job pending proof approval for 10 days, you can get it to set to mark the job in a specific colour for attention.
     
  20. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    There is a downside to that though.

    How often does one change software solutions because each one doesn't offer (and that lacking may be different from each one) exactly what is needed at any given time?

    You also run the risk since you aren't in control of that solution that something could happen to the solution itself, the direction that it's going in etc or it flat out dies. I have to wonder about some of the solutions that have been hocked on here with their owners as MMs on here and now nowhere to be seen and the people that used to love them are using something else. So always have to be willing to move on to the next one. Rolling your own provides more stability in that regard. One solution may offer what you need, then down the line, that is no longer an ability or they change it in such a way that is it no longer efficient and have to learn a different way. And I have to tell you, we as end users have less control with the direction that software is going now.

    Find a solution now and then over time, here and there put something together. May take longer then two wks from start to finish spread out even though it may only be two weeks if compressed it to full work days, but at least it won't seem like the daunting task of all right here, right now.

    And if you want something to be done quicker, roll it out using web languages (since you mentioned PHP knowledge) and just deploy it over a server (or use webpack and deploy it that way on a NAS that everyone can get access to)

    But like I said, I'm a zealot when it comes to something like this, the swift change of the direction of software in this past decade, I just don't like it at times and I love tinkering with computers, but I just don't like the direction that some vendors are going in.
     
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